NVIDIA's had some trouble shaving its Kepler GPUs down to an entry-level price point, but it looks to have put the problem behind it with the new GeForce 660 and 650 graphics cards. The company's ambition was to coax impoverished gamers clinging to DirectX9 (and to a lesser extent, 10) into switching up to this wallet-friendly pair of low-end units.
The 660 has been designed to be the "weapon of choice" for budget gamers. It'll play most games at reasonably high settings, thanks to its 2GB of RAM, 960 CUDA Cores and GPU Boost, which automatically overclocks the silicon according to the demands of your software. While we'll wait for real-world benchmarks, the company expects four-times the performance of the GeForce 9800GT, claiming games like Borderlands 2 and Guild Wars 2, in a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 will play at frame rates of 51fps and 41fps with full 3D, respectively
The 650 is the company's self-proclaimed "gateway" into gaming, being the lowest-priced Kepler it's planning to produce. Unlike the other cards in the range, it lacks GPU Boost, but the company left six-pin power on the card, giving card makers 64W to push the "good overclocker" 1GHz units all the way to 1.2GHz. It's got 1GB of DDR5 RAM, which will apparently handle even the newest games at mid-range levels of detail with its 384 CUDA Cores. The pair are available from today, with companies like Maingear and Origin already announcing discounted desktops for them to nestle inside.
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